Home Blog annotated-bibliograph Annotated Bibliography - The Ultimate Guide With Examples

Annotated Bibliography - The Ultimate Guide With Examples

Annotated Bibliography - The Ultimate Guide With Examples

A bibliography is a list of the sources you used when conducting research for your paper. You should always provide an annotated bibliography with in-text citations. This helps in giving due credit to the people who helped you create your work.

Do you know anything about the annotated bibliography? Do you have no idea at all what its requirements and basic structure are? Do you want to know how to write an annotated bibliography?

Read the blog ahead to learn how to craft a perfect annotated bibliography. You can go through the steps and various formats given below. They will help you to know how you can craft an excellent annotated bibliography for your paper.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

It is a list of citations for documents, articles, and books. Every citation is followed by a descriptive and brief paragraph, the annotation. The annotation is a brief citation summary of about 150-200 words.

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources. The basic purpose is to offer sufficient information to keep the reader interested in the original work. In simple terms, it describes whether the topic is useful or not and if yes, then why.

Never confuse an annotation as a brief summary of a book, an article, or other web sources. It must be kept as simple as you can.

Abstract Vs. Annotation

An abstract is a purely descriptive summary found at the beginning of a book. You can also find it in scholarly journal articles, web sources, or periodic indexes.

Annotations are also descriptive, but they are critical too. Also, they include the description of the authority, the author's point of view, and clarity of expression.

Purpose of Annotated Bibliography

It does not have a single purpose.

You need to explore the following points to develop an understanding.

  • Offers a literature review on a particular topic
  • Helps to make a thesis on subjects
  • Provides examples of various sources of information
  • Highlights the items that keep other researchers interested
  • Reflects the research performed on a specific topic

Students need to be careful about including all these points in their annotated bibliography, in order to earn a perfect grade.

If you miss any point, you will not be able to depict a complete understanding of the source. This is a major requirement in this case.

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Types of Annotated Bibliography

There are two primary types:

Example of an Informative or Descriptive Bibliography

The conclusion and the main arguments of the author are discussed in the informative type.

It can be considered as an abstract.

Also, it highlights why the source is important for researching a particular question or topic. Here is an example of an annotated bibliography:

For Example:

Breeding evil. (2006, September 8). The Times, 375(8496), Retrieved from www.thetimes.com

The editorial from the Times highlights the controversy of video games and the impact they have on the people and users. The author describes the skepticism of the mass media, which has gone back to the pastimes of the ancient Greeks. The significance of the article is extraordinary in exploring the controversial dimensions surrounding video games from a wide standpoint. It is published to target the general audience.

Example of Critical or Analytical Bibliography

A critical or analytical annotation serves various purposes. It not only describes the referenced article but also analyzes the said referenced source.

The strength of the article is examined. Besides, the weakness is also mentioned to express the key flaws in the conclusion presented by the author.

Majorly, critical, or analytical bibliographies are used in a research paper or project.

For Example:

Breeding evil. (2006, September 8). The Times, 375(8496), Retrieved from www.thetimes.com

The editorial from the Times discusses the controversial debate of video games and their effect on the people. The article indicates that a wide range of gaming critics are over 4, and it is the issue of age. Games cannot be blamed under any circumstances.

While the article briefly summarizes studies conducted in the dimensions of gaming and violence, it never analyzes the in-depth aspects. The article is not enough to reflect both sides of the story. If the researchers want to make a critical analysis, other research must be studied that has been conducted in the field. The bottom line is that the author says opposition to video games is generally because of the generation gap.

Remember, the example is specifically related to critical or analytical bibliography. Pay keen attention to the last sentence of the passage. The research of the author is criticized here.

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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography?

Now you are all set to write your own piece of the annotated bibliography.

Read the following steps to learn how to write an annotated bibliography.

  1. 1. Pick the Sources
  2. Before you write an annotated bibliography, it is a must to choose credible sources. Here is where research skills come in handy.

    Identify records of the material which may be utilized in your topic. You must choose scholarly articles which are older no more than the last 5 years.

  3. 2. Review the elements
  4. After choosing the sources, review the elements. Always choose the items which offer a wide range of perspectives on the topic. Reading the article’s abstracts is the key to this process.

  5. 3. Write the Citation
  6. First, write a complete citation and then follow it with the annotation. The citation should be the entry of your annotated bibliography. So, write the citation on the top.

    Follow the correct format of the respective citation i.e. MLA, APA, Harvard, Chicago, or any other.

    Moreover, you do not need to add a separate reference list, references or works cited page. Just add in-text citations in your annotated bibliography.

  7. 4. Write the Annotation
  8. Right after the citation, create an annotation.


    An ideal and informative annotated bibliography consists of 150-200 words.

    The following items are the main elements of an annotated bibliography:

    • The aim of the work
    • A summary of the content
    • The audience targeted by the author
    • Relevance to the primary topic
    • Any unique or special features relevant to the material
    • The weaknesses, biases, or strengths in the material.

    Annotated Bibliographies can be arranged in order or alphabetically.

    Know that the preference of the instructor is what you need to consider.

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Annotated Bibliography Format

Do you want to know how to do an annotated bibliography? The instructor, in most cases, directs to use the specific type of annotated bibliography.

Yes, there are different types.

Follow the guidelines carefully if you are asked to submit an essay with a bibliography at the end. Always keep an eye out to set your annotated bibliography format right.

Here are some common formats which your teacher will probably prefer to include in your instructions.

  • MLA Style
  • APA Style
  • Chicago Style

If you want to get complete knowledge of these formats, learn more by reviewing these annotated bibliography examples.

Remember, the following two features remain the same in each type of annotated bibliography:

  • The author’s name must be on the left.
  • The remaining text must be indented.

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Annotated Bibliography Example MLA

It takes practice and seasoned guidance to master annotated bibliographies. With different formats, it becomes further difficult to produce powerful annotated bibliographies.

Read the following MLA annotated bibliography example to have an understanding of the MLA formatted annotated bibliographies.

Lammot, Anne.Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Life and Writing. Anchor Books, 1995.

The most productive thing about Lamott's work is the reflection of the life of the writer. With victories and successes, the doubts and failures of the writer are also discussed. The anecdotal mode of writing and giving several examples from personal writing career further guides the novice writers to excel. For the new writers, it is a powerful guide to become a pro writer. The writing style, educational and lightweight, has proven to be easily understood by students.

The above example of MLA annotated bibliography beams light on the most appropriate way of writing annotated bibliography MLA. Summarizing, viewing, and evaluating the work are the three types expressed in the above MLA format sample.

MLA format has its distinct style of citation. Learn how to write MLA format paper, to cite your sources accordingly.

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APA Annotated Bibliography Example

Here is an example of the annotated bibliography APA format:

Ehrenreich, B., (2002).Nickel and Dimed: On (not) getting by in America. New York: Henry

The book by Ehrenreich reflects a nonfiction piece that includes her research project. The goal of the research was simple. She examined if it was possible to live on minimum wages in the United States of America (USA).

To prove the point, Ehrenreich highlighted their experiences as a maid working for cleaning services and a Walmart sales employee. She acknowledges that her research has generated results, but the possibilities are limited. Nevertheless, the book offers a potential image of the rising cost of living in America and is based on seasoned research.

In the above-mentioned APA format annotated bibliography example, the first half summarizes the book.

The second half assesses the work and research of the author. This is how annotated bibliography APA is done.

Similar to other citation and formatting styles, an APA style paper follows a set pattern. This includes everything from the paper format to the referencing style.

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Chicago Style Annotated Bibliography

An example of annotated bibliography Chicago style is as follows:

Davidson, Hilda Ellis.Role of the Northern Goddess. London: Routledge, 1999.

Davidson’s work is intended at presenting the diverse roles of the Northern European pagan goddesses in daily life. The diverse roles discussed by the author are hunting, agriculture, and several household arts.

A single paragraph is enough in the Chicago-style annotated bibliography.

Read again!

You will notice that it is a detailed summary of the book and the methods used by the author.

Annotated Bibliography Example

If you have any difficulty understanding the concept, here is the sample annotated bibliography. It comprises all the necessary examples and everything important regarding annotated bibliography.

Annotated Bibliography Sample (PDF)

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Annotated Bibliography Sample

Perform extensive research if you are analyzing the work of a credible author or source. As research is what differentiates quality and ordinary annotated bibliography.

You simply cannot ignore the significance of research in an annotated bibliography.

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